UPDATE: FOX 31′s Eli Stokols reports:
Heath, D-Boulder, is proposing to raise the state’s income tax from 4.63 percent currently to 5 percent, and to increase sales tax from 2.9 percent currently to 3.0 percent. Both increases would take effect January 1, 2012 and last for only three years.
Heath decided to move forward with the proposal after Gov. John Hickenlooper’s 2012 budget proposal called for $1.1 billion in cuts, including $375 in cuts to K-12 education spending.
Last week’s results of a DU analysis of Colorado’s long-term financial forecast, which concluded that revenues will not recover enough to cover the state’s growing expenditures, only added fuel to Heath’s fire.
“Our taxes and expenditures are less than virtually any state in the country,” Heath said. “Can you always cut expenses? Yes. But I think the question is: at what price?” [Pols emphasis]
Full press release after the jump: at a press conference today at noon, state Sen. Rollie Heath will unveil his plan to raise revenue for public education this year. Heath’s “Our Kids Can’t Wait” proposal calls for a ballot initiative for the voters in 2011 to raise additional revenue, hoping to offset major expected cuts to education funding in coming fiscal years.
Our understanding is that Sen. Heath’s proposal falls somewhere between more ambitious ballot initiative ideas from the Colorado Fiscal Policy Center, and the present reality of cuts without recompense. Sen. Heath says his plan stands a better chance of garnering support, but we’ve heard concern from some quarters that it won’t do enough to solve the problem.
In any event, says Sen. Heath of the status quo, “this is unacceptable to me. As a businessman, I fully understand that we need economic development in Colorado to continue climbing out of this recession. I also understand that education equals economic development, which in turn equals jobs. If we want to compete in a knowledge-based and technological world of the future, we’ll need excellence in education, and that requires funding.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HEATH TO UNVEIL EDUCATION FUNDING PROPOSAL
State Senator seeks to protect Colorado’s education systems from probable future cuts
Feb. 28, 2011
DENVER, COLORADO – Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, is saying “Our kids can’t wait” for adequate education funding in Colorado. Today, Monday, Feb. 28, Heath will hold a press conference to explain his idea for an initiative that would prevent potential major cuts to education budgets of the future. For the details:
· Today, Monday, Feb. 28, noon until 1:00 p.m.
· West Foyer, first floor of the State Capitol, 200 E. Colfax, Denver, CO 80203
· Sen. Rollie Heath, featured speaker
· Sen. Heath will be available for questions from the press after his presentation
· Contact information: (303) 866-4872 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The state cut about $260 million from its K-12 education budget in FY 2010-11. The most recent proposal for FY 2011-12 would impact K-12 by another $375 million, and it includes a $36 million general fund cut to higher education. The FY 2011-12 budget has not been finalized yet, however.
“This is unacceptable to me,” said Heath about the cuts. “As a businessman, I fully understand that we need economic development in Colorado to continue climbing out of this recession. I also understand that education equals economic development, which in turn equals jobs. If we want to compete in a knowledge-based and technological world of the future, we’ll need excellence in education, and that requires funding.”
Heath is in his third year as a member of the Senate Education committee, and was named a “Champion of Education” by the Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC) in 2008. He co-chaired and co-founded the Career Coach Program at Manual High School in Denver, and was an adjunct professor in International Trade with the University of Denver.